"In business terms, it has really become a cultural and sociological event within the American society," says Neal Pilson, former president of CBS Sports.
When the Orangeman won it all in 2003, at Bianchi's Pizza Pad in Syracuse, "it was the best pizza profit week we ever had in history," owner Sam Mangano says.
Mangano bought ads this year, but then Syracuse was snubbed — left out of the tournament.
"It's gonna hurt us," says Mangano. It could cost him $1,000 a night, he says.
"This is a small economy and when you take something like that out of the equation, it's big," he says.
The Internet is making it much easier to see the tournament.
"We've had over 1.5 million people come through to check out some of the action, but they were all at home. They weren't at work," Alex Riethmiller of CBS SportsLine, says with a chuckle.
Actually, Andrew Forsdick was watching the game. His employees at Addison Capital Advisors in Memphis, Tenn., worried they might forget their work during March Madness.
"We can go down now to the server and equipment room," Forsdick says. He just installed a box that monitors their Internet use.
"As an employee you might be saying, 'OK, you can't goof around too much because he's watching,'" employee Bobby Cochran says.
But if you do feel guilty stealing work time for game time, you could always just quit and become a reporter. Then, when you're watching, you're working. It's not just goofing off — it's journalism.